I don’t often remember my dreams. But recently I woke up from a snippet of a dream that was quite vivid, and that I could not forget after:
I was driving in the dream in a busy area, my husband in the passenger seat, when I noticed a light appear on the dash—the same type of light that shows up to tell you, normally, that your tires have deflated or your engine is screaming or something is deeply wrong with your vehicle.
But in my dream, the red light simply said: “HUMMINGBIRD”
“Oh!” I said in the dream to my dream-husband, “the hummingbird light is on!” We pulled off on the shoulder of what appeared to be a busy interstate and, sure enough, witnessed what the light had promised. A hummingbird flitted around in front of us and then disappeared.
We got back in the car, started driving again, and the light appeared once more. “Oh!” I said, delighted.
And then woke up.
Interestingly—at least to me—I had that dream during what was the most stressful and miserable work-week of my life. It was delightful. I found myself thinking, wistfully, I wish every car had a hummingbird light. I loved the idea of my vehicle letting me know I was about to miss something beautiful.
I think a lot of us miss the beautiful.
Recently, I started lighting a candle during my prayer time. I light candles all the time anyway—in the bath, at dinner, whenever, wherever—but had never lit one during my prayers before because…I don’t know why. But I like it. The flame reminds me to be present and alert with God—because if I forget what I’m doing or get distracted there’s a good chance the house will burn down—but it also just makes everything a little more beautiful. A little light flickering on: time with God is special.
When I was little, my whole family used to dress up to go to church. Everybody dressed up to go to church. Few people do now—and my church doesn’t, and I’ve seen people there in sweatpants and skirts and everything in between—but it was a reminder when I did it, a little light flickering on: Sundays are Special.
Coming back from a winter vacation, my husband and I made a promise to each other—no work talk after dinner (barring an emergency). Why? Well, even when you’re just venting or sharing stories, work after hours is work living rent-free in your head, and your home time stops feeling so magical. So we stopped. And now I am guaranteed that, after work every day, I face a glorious period of not-work. It’s a little light flickering on: this time is special.
And in times of stress, special times are vital.
The world is full of good things God made, just for you. Hot cups of tea and ice-glazed tree branches, the voice of someone you love on the phone, a really well-written sentence, cardinals on a feeder, blue jays stabbing cranberries out of a suet block, bunnies, cat bellies, cards with wax seals on them, fuzzy socks, that one song you really like. Enjoy them. Take time to enjoy them even when the world is going nuts. Find a way to turn on that little hummingbird light in your life that says: God did something! Go look at it!
One of my friends gets so absorbed in her projects at work that she puts a reminder on her phone: STOP. She told me that one day she forgot to take the reminder off, so she was minding her own business on a weekend and there came the command: STOP. I laughed. “What did you do?”
“I stopped,” she said.
She paused. “And it was good to stop.”
Stop. Stop! Pull off the road. God will get you where you need to be eventually. And if this sounds familiar to all the self-help, self-care jargon that says “go do something good for yourself,” then let me remind you of the key here: let the good thing you enjoy point you to the Maker and Giver of all good things.
The hummingbird light isn’t real. But I like to think my dream was a reminder. When all else fails, notice in an uncomplicated and open way everything God is doing. It’s good. It’s really, really, good.